The first online, global Pride festival

The LGBTI Pride movement is going fully online for the first time with a new global event – Digital Pride.

Today marks the beginning of the week-long Digital Pride, created by international news site, Gay Star News. It is the first time that the LGBTI Pride movement has gone fully online with a global event, and is open to anyone, anywhere in the world – all you need is a smartphone, computer or tablet.

Last year, Android launched a digital global Pride celebration that allowed you to create or ‘Androidify’ their own Android character. But this year, Gay Star News are bringing it to a whole new level. Scott Nunn, Gay Star News director, said: “For a lot of people going to a Pride is not an option. They could risk their lives by trying to be open and proud about who they are.

“The LGBTI community connects digitally more than any other way and we have used our power online to accelerate change around the world.

“It’s time we brought the power of digital to the Pride movement with this global event.

“This isn’t just a Pride for one city or even one country. A parade and party are great but Pride can and should be so much more.

“So Digital Pride in 2016 will build the foundations for an annual LGBTI festival that will become the biggest Pride event in the world. And, in the spirit of Pride, it will be free.”

The week of events will include a panel discussion debating being LGBTI in the digital world, the LGBTI Iris Prize Film Festival in London’s Leicester Square, creation of a community mural in Manchester that will be live streamed and time lapsed, and technology giant, Fujitsu, will host a global video conference exploring ‘Identity and Belonging’ with specially invited panellists. The grand finale of Digital Pride is the world’s first global pride party on Saturday 30th April at G-A-Y at Heaven nightclub, which will be streamed live across the world.

The tech industry has been a long-term friend of the LGBTI community, and for the LGBTI community technology has opened up whole new worlds of opportunities, so it makes sense to me that the LGBTI community is further embracing digital as a safe way to reach out to ‘family’ around the world. Of course, the cynical side of me wonders if ours is the latest bandwagon for companies to jump on in the race to monetising customer engagement, but I’m choosing to ignore that, in favour of waving a rainbow flag.